This wonderful satirical story from Arlo Guthrie isn’t being presented as an example of a literary lyric. It is a musical narrative mocking the world of the day, and doing so on Thanksgiving Day, both in the storytelling and for this posting.
So, Happy Thanksgiving to all reading.
It is apt for today as a holiday reminiscence as well as, sadly, the reality of how a song nearly 50 years old still ridicules behaviour and attitudes prominent in the world now, especially post-Trump.
Perhaps the saddest aspect would be how that hope for change sung in protest songs of the day would appear to have been a waste of idealised time. Well, we did have Obama for eight years, and that wouldn’t have seemed conceivable then,
If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I’ve been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it
for another twenty five minutes. I’m not proud… or tired.
Arlo continues to perform this crowd favourite live, sometimes contemporising the lyrics, and such versions can also be found on YouTube and elsewhere, for example a 2005 Farm Aid performances.
The following original recording is about 19 minutes long and that is a proper sit-down experience. I actually have the lyrics printed and was going to post along with the video – but that seems superfluous. You can always find this yourself easily enough online if you want to read as you listen: